By TESA GLASS
SPRINGFIELD — —
Monthly wage reports will be used by the Illinois Department of Employment Security to reduce unemployment, Medicaid and Affordable Care Act fraud.
"We are up in fraud cases," said Greg Rivera, communications manager with IDES. "The new monthly reports will have more relevant and up-to-date information. If someone tells us they aren't working, we can see immediately from the reports if they in fact, are working."
Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brandon Bullard said the issue of unemployment fraud is an ongoing concern among business owners throughout the state
"It's not as high on the radar as Worker's Comp fraud, but ... it's up there."
Bullard said he is glad to hear the IDES is looking at ways to reduce unemployment fraud and help all employers.
"I think IDES is trying to cut down on paying into the trust fund more than employers have to," Bullard said. "Employers pay into the trust fund, and that money, in addition to federal and state dollars, pay unemployment benefits."
There is a formula to determine how much an individual employer must pay, and one of the factors in the rate is employee turnover.
"The rate for most business is large — it's a good chunk of change," Bullard said. "Anytime you have to pay more into something like unemployment insurance, the less you have to reinvest into your business."
Under the new guidelines, businesses will be required to file monthly reports in addition to quarterly wage and contribution reports.
The new reports According to IDES, begin this quarter for the state's largest companies which will be required to move away from paper and file both reports electronically. Electronic filing is also being encouraged in smaller businesses throughout the state. A phased-in schedule has been introduced for the electronic move.
"This will help local businesses because there will be fewer dollars leaking from the trust fund, and they will have lower taxes," Rivera said.
Bullard said most employers understand the need for unemployment insurance.
"You have to have it, and there are people who have fallen on hard times and we have to take care of each other," Bullard said. "The system is set up so people who are having problems finding a job, who need a hand up getting their life back together can do that. But, there are people who are exploiting the system, and that's a different problem. I'm glad to see the state trying to do something to fix the system."
Employers who had 250 or more employees in 2012 will began monthly internet reporting in February. The late reporting penalty for January was waived.
Employers who had between 100 and 249 employees in 2012 must begin monthly internet reporting by July, making the first due date for the report August.
Employers who had between 50 and 99 employees in 2012 will begin monthly internet reporting in January, 2014; and those who had between 25 and 49 employees will begin internet reporting in July 2014.